Monday, December 7, 2009

OHS aids in investigation at Toronto Humane Society

December 7, 2009
For immediate release

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has sent one of its rescue agents to Toronto to assist in the ongoing investigation into operations at the Toronto Humane Society. The OHS staff member, who works in the Emergency Animal Protection Services (EAPS) department, left Ottawa on Saturday and is expected to remain in Toronto for at least a week. The OHS will likely supply at least one agent to the investigation until Christmas.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), the organization conducting the investigation, asked the OHS for its assistance late last week to help with the situation unfolding at the Toronto shelter.

"We received a call to action and immediately said we would help," said OHS Executive Director, Bruce Roney. "Even though our own resources are limited, we wanted to do as much as possible to help the animals of Toronto in this crisis."

The OHS agent began her first 12-hour shift on Saturday evening, under the direction of lead OSPCA investigators. Over the coming days, she will be helping to check animal health and welfare, working closely with veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

The absence of one rescue agent here in Ottawa has meant the OHS has had to re-schedule shifts and remaining staff to ensure adequate coverage in the emergency department. The OHS will respond to more than 175 calls about animal cruelty and neglect in the month of December alone. Although legally mandated to enforce the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario SPCA Act, the OHS does not receive any government funding or funding from any animal welfare group to perform this community work and relies on public donations to pay for this essential service.

Five Toronto Humane Society staff members, along with the society's board of directors, were charged with animal cruelty under the Ontario SPCA Act on Nov. 26. On that same day, the OSPCA executed search warrants for the Toronto Humane Society headquarters. It has been carrying out those warrants ever since.

For media inquiries, contact:
Tara Jackson, Communications Manager
(613) 725-3166 ext. 261

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